Seven devotees were nailed to crosses on Good Friday in a northern Philippine village where the rites drew thousands of tourists and spectators.
The Lenten ritual is opposed by religious leaders in the Philippines — Southeast Asia's largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation. But it has persisted to become one of the country's most-awaited summer attractions in San Fernando City's San Pedro Cutud village.
The devotees' palms and feet were attached to wooden crosses with 4-inch nails soaked in alcohol to prevent infection after a nearly mile-long walk to the mound, each carrying a wooden cross on their backs.
Among the yearly penitents in San Pedro Cutud was Ruben Enaje, a 46-year-old commercial sign maker who was nailed to the cross for the 21st time on Friday.
Earlier in the day in the same village, dozens of half-naked men hit their bloodied backs with bamboo sticks dangling from a rope in a flagellation rite meant to atone for sins.
More than 100 foreign tourists flocked to this year's Good Friday rites, with many of them seated on a stage at the side of the mound.
"They take this religion to the extreme," observed Gomas de Miguel, a tourist from Spain. "In Spain, we say we are Catholics but we don't do this anymore I think."
"It's not my belief, but I know that they are sincere in what they are doing so I respect it," said American tourist Dennis Smith.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.